If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ohio And I Have A Love/Hate Relationship

I just got back from a trip to Ohio. Oh man, I'm glad to be home!

First, let me assure you, Ohio is lovely. Love the rolling hills, the trees, the wide open spaces. I've got no problem with that. And I actually go to Ohio pretty frequently, so you'd think Ohio and I would get along better than we do.

But no. As soon as I crossed the border into Ohio yesterday, the temperature dropped from 102 to 68 degrees. Like in a 10 mile stretch. And rain, lightning, and wind traveled along I-70 with me.

For hours.

About the time the rain stopped (or the front moved off my direct path), traffic stopped, too. I don't know why. Traffic stopped for about 10 miles. We were sitting there for an hour and a half. I tried to amuse myself with a guessing game:
- What percentage of these people will pee in a cup before traffic starts moving again?
- How many people are fervently wishing they did not eat so heavily at their last meal?
- How many people, like me, are going to be desperately late to where they are going?

The answer to all of those questions, by the way, is 100%.

I wouldn't be so annoyed by that situation, though, if:
1) I didn't have to pee so badly.
2) I wish I hadn't eaten that Arby's Chicken Bacon Swiss sandwich before leaving.
3) Stopping for and hour and a half made me desperately late.

I should also add:
4) This happens every single time I come to Ohio.
5) It happened again, about an hour down the road.

And, apparently, getting out of the car when you are on the interstate is a thing now. Maybe it's just me, but I think it's a bad idea to get out of the car and stand along the shoulder. It's an even worse idea to let your kids and your dogs get out and play along the shoulder and in the median. (They were not peeing outside, the kids and the dogs. They were playing, running around and such. Although, a couple of them did pee.)

This is why it's a bad idea, in case you were one of the people doing this. About every five minutes a car would get bored and tear out into the shoulder and then drive along the shoulder pretty fast until they got to a place they could cross the median into the traffic going the opposite direction. Not a good place to stand or let your kids and dogs play.

I should also mention that traffic going the opposite way was not stopped. Maybe it never occurred to these people, but sometimes cars leave the road and travel into the median. Where your kids are playing.

Anyway, by the time we were ready to leave Ohio, we'd been pushed so late that we decided we should probably get a room and sleep before driving home. But... remember the storm? It was a bigger storm than it appeared because apparently it did a lot of damage. And there was no power in six counties. No power. No hotels. So we decided to drive as long as we could. It was not until 4 am, when we still had hours to go before we were home, that we saw any hotels with lights on.

To make it up to me, however, Ohio did have a Joann's with a pretty nice clearance sale going on. I picked up 10 skeins of yarn (including some of the Red Heart Boutique Midnight that I told you about last week--in the blue Moonlight colorway)and a $3 bag of Werther's candy for $14.52.

So, Ohio and I parted as friends, yet again.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

If You Tickle Me, Do I Not Laugh?

I'm not a fan of rats. Of any kind. They're basically pooping and biting machines and they are not cute. Oh, they look cute, alright. But once you've been bitten or peed on or pooped on, you'll come to see things my way.

Still, I read this article and had to laugh. (See what I did there?) It seems that researches have determined mice--and, presumably, other animals--laugh when they are tickled.

The video of these "laughing" mice cracks me up. What do you suppose they are thinking? "Tee-hee-hee! Stop it! Stop! Stop! I can't take it!"

It makes you think, though. What qualifications do you have to have to get a job tickling rats?

Seriously, though. Think about this. We keep finding, through research, more and more human-like behavior in more and more animals. Language. Tool use. Self recognition. Learning from another's experience. Baby talk with young.

And yet we continue to believe we are the only intelligent beings in the universe. Come on, people. We are not the only intelligent beings on the planet. (Although, I will grant you that you may be hard pressed to find any in some establishments around here.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Shopping Trip: Goodwill

M and I went to Goodwill to look for 1) Incredible purse finds (if you want a designer purse for $3, take M with you); 2) Wool sweaters to recycle the yarn or felt; 3) Anything that happened to catch our eyes.

Most of what we saw fell into that category.

Goodwill is kind of a weird place. You can find some really cool stuff that you can't believe someone got rid of any more than you can believe the store is selling it so cheap or that you were the one that found it first.

Like this Santa mug. This made me smile to see it because we had two of these when I was a kid. My little bro and I used to love to drink from the Santa mugs at Christmastime. (And even though they were in the glass cabinet year round, we only drank from them during the holidays.)

But you're also likely to find some really awful stuff at Goodwill.

Like prom dresses and bridesmaids' dresses. I don't know why, but even though work dresses and sundresses and casual dresses are completely normal, most prom dresses and bridesmaids' dresses that end up at Goodwill can be categorized on a scale from WTF? to OMG! My eyes! My eyes!

Or you might find something like this... whatever this is. Now, if you look at this, you'll see that the head is actually taped on sideways. I assume they taped it on so it didn't get separated from the body.

I'm also going to assume that whoever taped it was just as weirded out by this as I was. I mean, look at it. Look where the spout is on this thing! Can you imagine going to a Christmas party and seeing this thing on the buffet table?

I don't know about you, but I'm not drinking anything out of that spout. Not my kind of party, if you know what I mean.

And what the hell is going on in this picture? I mean, I know it's a Rockwell plate. But I thought Norman Rockwell paintings were supposed to be wholesome and bland? This thing just screams pervert! Hey, Mr. Benson! Get away from those kids before I call the cops!

And what about this one? Don't tell me Norman Rockwell was "America's Artist." Not when he creates pictures with this kind of barely concealed suggestion. I mean, really. When I picked this thing up, it was obvious what kind of card game they were playing. Look at the sweater draped over the back of that chair in the foreground. Look at the old man's face. Look at the young woman's expression. Look how the younger man is laughing. Look how the old lady's amusement is tinged with just a little vindictiveness.

The caption was not on this plate, but I'm pretty sure it's something like "Four of a kind beats two pair, Gramps. You owe pants and a tie."

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Letter To My Past Self

Dear Younger Patwoman,

I thought it might make things a little easier on you to find out how they turn out in the future. Here are two things you should know:

1. You actually will need math in your real life. Algebra math. It makes the knitting so much easier.

2. When you are an adult you can "spoil your dinner" by eating cotton candy as an appetizer. Look forward to that.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Letter From AW

My Dearest Patwoman,

It is hot here in Gotham City. Hot like a whip crack in the air. Hot like a defiant look from a lady who knows the jig is up. Hot like the passion between two lovers from different sides of the law--two lovers who know their desires are forbidden.

Patwoman, my marvelous minx! Give up the illicit (but sexy) life of an international art thief / knitter and join forces with me! I will tell Robin to hit the bricks and pledge my crime-fighting partnership to you, if only you will say the word.

Say that you will be mine and we will travel the night together. We will scamper across the rooftops like two... scampering things. And, we will fight our mutual felonious foes with snappy repartee, filled with sexual innuendo and double entendre.

Only say it, Patwoman, and make it Helsinki all over again.

I am, forever yours,



Sweet Adam,

What a dilemma! Helsinki was hot, I will agree. And you were like a man on fire. Yet, how can I deny all that I am--smokin' hot knitter and international art thief?

Is that not what makes me hot in the first place? Can you tell me that those ice-covered rooftops would have been just as exciting, just as titillating (Oh yeah, I went there!) if I were some tame marketing director? Can you honestly believe the taboo factor had nothing to do with our red-hot courtship?

No, sweet bat. The forbidden fruit is always the sweetest. And Helsinki... Well, that fruit was--

Oh, geez. Is it hot in here, or what?!


Friday, June 22, 2012

UFO: Update On Afghan Progress

This weekly afghan update is almost becoming demotivating. Every week I get to tell you the damned thing is not finished.

*#@#%^&*@ it! I think I'm going to only update you if I've really made progress.

I did make some progress on it this week. Another motif section complete. Sigh. Only about a third of the afghan left.

Pictures are coming. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Not Knitting - A Trip To The Desert

Believe me, I would prefer a trip to the dessert, but unfortunately I know the difference in spelling.

I didn't actually go to the desert, btw. I just walked out the front door. This is my front yard. Looks like crap. Look at the deep cracks in the ground and the bare patches. My only consolation is that my next door neighbor waters the crap out his yard and I know the state of my yard pisses him off.

It's been about a month since it actually rained here. (Indianapolis did get some measurable rain on one day--like half an inch--but it didn't rain at all on my side of town.) I don't water the grass. I think it's a waste of water. It's just grass. The grass will grow back the first time it rains. Not a big deal. I do water my flowers and shrubs, however. And my tomatoes.

They are holding on.

Curiously, the grass around my composter is all dead, too. You would think it would be super-vibrant. (Don't look inside the composter, btw. It's really gross in there.) Really, the only thing thriving in my yard are these flowering bushes. They've actually grown so tall, they have topped the house and need to be trimmed.

Oh God. I hope they haven't broken a water pipe with their roots...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Shopping Trip - Novelty Yarns

I'm a fan of novelty yarns. Now, you may sneer in disgust and tell me how I should only use natural yarns and how true knitters would never touch novelty yarns, but I don't care. I love novelty yarns.

Not for everything, of course. And not to the exclusion of loving natural fibers. But I do love the fun factor in novelty yarns. And I like my old lady sports knitting to be fun.

So I was happy to see a couple of new things at Michael's this week. Like this Magical yarn by Loops & Threads. This is a really interesting yarn, texture-wise. It's a couple of different colors of smooth acrylic yarn interspersed with lengths of a soft fuzzy fur-like yarn.

The pattern on the wrapper is for a striped sweater. The yarn, of course, would do the striping. That's interesting, because I would not have immediately thought "sweater" when seeing this yarn. Even now, I'm doubting my own ability to wear horizontal stripes on a bulky knit sweater. And I'm thinking that having the stripes made out of fur would only exacerbate the issue.

But, this would be fantastic for a scarf, hat, afghan, or shawl. And the colors are great. I only took this pic, because this was my fave color combo, but there are some really nice colorways in this yarn. Unfortunately, Michael's apparently doesn't have Magical on its website yet, so if you don't want to make a trip to the store, you'll have to give their IT department time to add it.

Midnight is also from Loops & Threads. It's a long color change variegated yarn with a little bit of sparkle. This blue colorway is just one of the six or seven I saw. But, you know, if you're going to name a yarn Midnight, I just think it should be blue. The blues in this yarn range from a pale, faded denim color to a deep... uh... midnight.

I didn't check to see what the fiber content was on this. It felt acrylic, but I think it would be super cool if it was mostly wool so it would felt. Then it would lend itself to bags and bowls and formed hats, and all kinds of stuff. Still, I could see this being a good go-to gift scarf yarn.

It always makes me laugh when you knit a scarf with a billion cables and bobbles and lace patterns and color changes and then your non-knitting friends will be way more impressed with a garter-stitch fun fur scarf that you knit during the course of a Doctor Who episode.

And, speaking of knitting for non-knitting friends... This Poodle yarn looks like a good candidate for this year's scarves, since all my friends have scarves in every flavor of fun fur by now. I personally would love a hat made from this yarn. It just looks super fun, doesn't it? I also think this would make really funky-looking boot toppers. Maybe a hat/boot topper/scarf set?

Curiously, M was relatively unimpressed by all of those, and instead zeroed in on another Loops & Threads offering, Dewdrops in Garnet. It's a super bulky acrylic/mohair blend, shot through with color-matched sequins. It was in a clearance section with several other red yarns (I also bought 2 skeins of Stitch Nation Full o' Sheep in Poppy, which I will find a use for) so I got what was apparently the last two of a matching dye lot.

This yarn will become a scarf, because that is specifically what M asked for ("Make me a scarf out of this."), but I could certainly see it as a shawl, too.

Monday, June 18, 2012

What? You Mean The Earth Is Not In Danger?

So, it's kind of just a given that an asteroid is going to coldcock the planet and we'll all go the way of the dinosaurs.

Although, now that I say it that way, it kind of makes me sad for the dinosaurs. Think of them, standing around, minding their own business--maybe munching on a smaller dinosaur or something--and then it's like "Hey, what's that bright light in the sky? And what's that noise? And, is it suddenly getting kinda hot--"

WHAM! No more dinos. They probably didn't even understand it. And the ones that initially lived were like, "Oh shit! What just happened? Why is there so much smoke and fire? I gotta getthehellouttahere, man!" Sad.

But I digress.

I know you've heard about the asteroid that was on course to smash into the Earth in 2040. It's what keeps the Syfy Channel so fully stocked in epic movies that, even if an asteroid were to be on a collision course with our planet, we'd have about a million earth-saving ideas to choose from.

Anyway, like I was saying, it's just pretty been much a fact that, according to scientists who know, we have a pretty good shot at being asteroided in 2040 by Asteroid 2011AG. (Well, okay. What they really said was that there was a slight chance. But that's not very dramatic. So just go with it, okay?)

Well now, apparently, according to this article, that's not gonna happen at all.

My first thought was Yay!

But then, I started thinking. "Hey wait a minute... If they said it was gonna hit us, and now they say it's not, what does that mean?" I'm envisioning black-suited government agents rolling up the the observatories and stating in a menacing monotone, "Knowing an extinction event is about to happen is not good for orderly society, don't you think? I think you ought to recheck your information. That asteroid's not going to hit the Earth after all, is it? You were wrong, weren't you?"

Perhaps those same men in black are the ones who will "silence" those who insist the public has a right to know? Perhaps they will be the ones who hold back the mob of panicked civilians (by any means necessary) while government officials all over the world and their hand-picked chosen few are loaded into interstellar arks to escape the destruction and begin colonizing other planets?

Oh wait. That actually was a Syfy movie, wasn't it?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to everyone who is, will be, has, or knows a father.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Not Knitting: Playing With Nail Polish

My friend, The Internet, told me about this craft. Sadly, I didn't bookmark the site I was looking at, so I pretty much had to do this from memory.

It was pretty straightforward, though. Take a glass stone (the type you use in floral arrangements), paint a couple of different colors of nail polish on the underside, swirl them around, paint black nail polish over the back. Then, of course, you would attach a bale and use it as a pendant.

In this first one, I used blue, silver, and purple. I swirled it with a toothpick in the way you swirl cake batter. After it dried, I gave it a few coats of black. The black is to help add a mirror-like finish to the back.

Two things: 1) My color choices were too dark to be distinct and 2) My glass stone was just way too thick to really show off the colorwork. So I decided to try again.

I grabbed a smaller stone, lighter colors--silver, pink, gold. Swirled. Coated in black. This had a better effect, I think, but I think the stone is the problem again. This particular stone had kind of a shimmery effect, which I had hoped would add to the overall look of the stone. I'm not sure I accomplished that.

I'm still going to pendant-ize these stones, because I still think they're pretty cool. But I think I will experiment further with some other stones.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Shopping Trip

The Dollar Store is such a cool place. I wish there were Dollar Stores when I was a kid. (We had the 5 & 10¢ store, but believe me, I never saw a thing there for 5 or 10¢. In fact, those crappy Not-Barbie dolls you get for $1 at the Dollar Store now are the same Not-Barbie dolls you could get when I was a kid... for $1.)

A lot of the stuff at the Dollar Store is the same stuff you could get for $1 when I was a kid, in fact. Bag of Army Guys, nail polish, fake flowers, 10 packs of flower seeds... All that was $1 when I was a kid, too. If that doesn't seem remarkable to you, let me just remind you that gas was 40¢ a gallon back then.

Anyway, I like to go to the Dollar Store (notice I've capitalized it, out of respect) for nail polish, paper napkins, Not-Windex, paper plates, party cups, candles, glue for my glue gun, wooden spoons, plastic spoons--basically, all kinds of stuff. Oh, and these, my favorite candy.

It always amazes me what you will find in the Dollar Store on any given day. M pointed out 50 feet of rainbow-colored clothesline to me. But I was most surprised by these items. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think I would be inclined to put that much faith in these products.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Green Feathers

I started this scarf a while back to keep my hands busy while it was not my turn at the game table. (I'm kind of a bad sport that way. If it takes too long to be my turn again, I start to become disruptive.)

Anyway, this scarf is basically a feather and fan stitch scarf. And you know F/F is one of my all-time favorite stitches. Especially when you use a chunky yarn. There's just something about a lace stitch in a chunky yarn that appeals to me.

This is Yarn Bee Fleece Lite in Autumn. It's a boucle, mostly green, with some flecks of red, yellow, and orange. (So, if I were naming it, I would call it Early Autumn. But nobody asked me.)

This is a pretty easy pattern to do. Pretty easy to remember (4 rows). It's going a little slower than most other scarves go because it's boucle. That always makes me go slower.

I've finished half the scarf already and have cast on to do the other half. That way, the ends will be the same.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Friday FO: The Pom Pom Scarf

Finally a FO! Huzzah!

This is the Pom Pom Scarf I was working on. Very quick and easy knit. Looks like I really did something special here. But, you know, it was garter stitch, basically, using this Pom Pom yarn from Loops And Threads.

The yarn is a bit tricky to work with at first. You're only knitting the thread in between the pom poms. So it goes a little slower until you get used to it. But it leaves you with these pom poms shoulder to shoulder in a sea of pom poms! I used a skein and a half to get this 7 foot long scarf.

This scarf is very fluffy and light. And it looks playful. I wanted to make some matching mittens (pom poms on the cuffs and a matching wool on the hand), but M says she prefers her leather driving gloves.

So I will save the half skein of Pom Pom and do something else with it. Any ideas?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Did I Miss Another Eclipse?

Yes. Yes, I did. What is wrong with me? I've been so off my game lately.

So, yeah. I remembered the eclipse. I even set a timer on my phone so I could watch it. And I kept looking up at the moon, thinking "When is this thing going to eclipse?"

Solar eclipse, Patwoman. Solar apparently means sun. I totally missed even attempting to see it because I didn't pay attention to what I was reading about what kind of eclipse it was.

It wouldn't have mattered anyway, I guess. Because, as I've mentioned before, I don't look up at the sun for one very good reason:

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Pom-Pom Scarf

Check this out. It's a scarf I've started with Loops and Threads Pom-Pom yarn. The color is unimaginatively called Red, but I have to admit, it looks fantastic no matter what it's called.

I've seen this yarn for a while now and thought it looked interesting. However, I've got about a metric ton of yarn right now, so I don't need any more. But M grabs a ball of this stuff every time we go to Michael's and says, "Make me a scarf with this!"

Not that she needs another scarf, either.

I always tell her, "I have way too much yarn right now. But if they ever clearance this out, we'll get some so you can have your scarf." Well today, guess what?

That's right. It was on clearance. So I picked up two skeins--enough for a good-sized scarf. I started knitting on it during our weekly RPG. Can't knit on any of the the afghans there, since all the recipients are sitting at that table, so I needed something else anyway.

This yarn is a bit tricky to knit with. You're basically knitting the thread in between the pom poms. But once you get the hang of it, it goes pretty quickly. I did this much tonight, during one game session.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Robot Donut Maker

This blog title is somewhat misleading, if you are expecting something like the robot pancake maker I talked about back in June 2009, or the robot lover I frequently talk about.

It is not weird. Don't say that. I don't say anything about that stupid Jean-Luc Picard fantasy of yours, do I?

Anyway, I was out shopping for various equipment and came across this machine. I have to admit, the nameplate made me a little happy for a second. Then, upon closer examination of the machine, I realized it wasn't all that interesting, after all.

Unless you really like donuts, I guess.

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